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Best MetaTrader 4 (MT4) Brokers
Even if you are only casually familiar with the world of forex trading, chances are that you’ve heard of MetaQuotes Software’s renowned MetaTrader suite. MetaTrader 4 (MT4) is the fourth iteration of the celebrated platform suite, and is one of the most popular trading platforms among retail forex and CFD traders, worldwide.
In fact, MT4 is so popular among traders that MetaQuotes’ newer iteration, MetaTrader 5 (MT5) has struggled to gain traction against its own predecessor (but we still created a guide exclusively for MT5 – check it out here).
MT4 is a platform, not a broker; once you’ve decided to use MT4, you’ll still need to pick a broker. We created this BrokerNotes guide to serve as a handy, high-level explainer for the MT4 platform, and to make your MT4 broker selection process a breeze.
Picked your broker, and ready to dive into the ins and outs of MT4? Take a look at our in-depth how-to guide for MT4, where we’ll show you how to get the most out of this powerful platform.
What is MT4?
MetaTrader 4 (MT4) is a third-party trading platform that can be connected to a trader’s broker of choice, to be used for forex and CFD trading. Developed by MetaQuotes Software Corp. and launched in 2005, MT4 is the most popular third-party platform for trading forex.
The full MetaTrader suite is available for mobile, web, and desktop. Licensed by brokers and offered to traders, MetaTrader is one of the most widely-used trading platform suites for retail forex and CFDs trading globally.
Lingo: Any broker that offers the MetaTrader 4 (MT4) trading software can be considered an “MT4 broker.”
A forex broker just needs to acquire a license from the developer in order to offer MT4 to you as a customer. However, some forex brokers that offer MT4 may lack proper regulation in the countries in which they operate, thus it is important to only choose trustworthy MT4 brokers.
CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. Between 74% and 89% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.
Best MetaTrader (MT4) Brokers
Our team evaluates dozens of the biggest brokers in foreign exchange, and – using a proprietary formula that takes into account a range of factors, including trust – we rank the best brokers for forex trading. We then used that data to determine the best (and the safest) brokers for traders who want to use MT4:
- 8.2/10 Overall
- 8.3/10 Overall
- 8.4/10 Overall
- 8.5/10 Overall
- 9.6/10 Overall
- 7.8/10 Overall
- 8.0/10 Overall
- 7.4/10 Overall
- 8.3/10 Overall
Is MetaTrader 4 a broker?
No, MetaTrader 4 is not a broker. MetaTrader 4 (MT4) is an immensely popular third-party trading platform, developed by MetaQuotes Software Corp. The MT4 platform allows you to connect to a broker for forex trading.
There are other third-party trading platform solutions on the market, such as cTrader, and some brokers build their own custom in-house trading platforms.
Can I use MT4 without a broker?
Nope, you’ll need to open a live account with a broker if you want to place any real trades within the MT4 platform (or its newer iteration, MT5).
If you’ve downloaded MT4 directly from the developer (MetaQuotes Software Corp.), you’ll be able to select a broker’s server from a dropdown menu, and then open an account with the broker of your choice. You’ll then be able to access market rates and live trading within MT4.
That being said, MetaTrader does let you use a free demo account that can be accessed without first connecting with a forex broker. Traders can use the demo account for conducting technical analysis on historical rates, for example, but it won’t include access to any live trading (or updated market rates).
Pro tip: Choose the right broker for you that offers MT4 or MT5, and then download its version of the platform to use for demo or live trading directly from the broker's website.
Pros and cons of using MT4
- It’s easy to use, even for beginners. MT4 is widely considered to be user-friendly, intuitive, and accessible – even for new traders.
- No matter what device you use, you’re covered.You can access MT4 on your smartphone, tablet, desktop computer, or laptop. Native to Windows, MT4 can also run on Mac and Linux systems with a little extra effort (and software).
- Scalp? Hedge? Automate? Sure. MT4 allows traders to hedge positions, and it can facilitate scalping strategies with features like one-click trading. The ability to run EAs opens up automation possibilities (along with support from the large MQL4 support community.
- Switching brokers? No problem. Most forex and CFD brokers offer the MT4 platform, so you won’t have to spend time learning how to use a new trading platform if you decide to switch up your broker.
- With so many features, there’s a lot to like. MT4 features a secure encryption protocol, a wide range of supported languages, excellent technical analysis charting capabilities, backtesting, and social copy trading (available via the MT4 Trading Signals market).
- Traders who want to use HFT strategies will have to look elsewhere. Execution speed is not great, and is generally unsuitable for high-frequency trading.
- Eventually, MT4 will ride off into the sunset… Any forex or CFD brokers that launched after 2018 will not offer the MT4 platform, because MetaQuotes no longer issues MT4 licenses (instead issuing licenses for its newer MT5 platform).
- …and you won’t be able to bring your account with you. MT4 uses a different programming language (MQL4) than its successor, MT5 (MQL5), so plug-ins and accounts are not portable to the newer platform.
Want to learn all about MQL5 and the latest MetaTrader platform? Read the complete MetaTrader 5 guide at our sister site, ForexBrokers.com, where we dive deep into the newest version of the MetaTrader software.
How do I get started with MetaTrader 4?
Logging in to MT4 and accessing your broker of choice is relatively simple, but we’ve included some step-by-step instructions for those traders who are new to using MetaTrader:
- Download the MT4 software from the broker of your choice (or directly from the developer's website).
- Once you’ve opened your MT4 account with your broker (whether it’s a live account or a demo), make a note of the login credentials and broker server name.
- Log into the MT4 software on your platform and device of your choice, and enter or select your broker’s server name.
- Use the login credentials that were emailed or shown to you during step two.
Is the MT4 platform free?
Yes, MT4 is completely free to use. While you won’t be charged for using the MT4 platform, it’s important to remember that you can (and, likely will) still incur trading costs that are charged by your broker (or market-maker) in the form of spreads and commissions when buying or selling securities such as forex and CFDs.
It can also cost money to hold trades overnight — known as carry charges or overnight rollover premiums — depending on the live account type you have (Sharia-compliant accounts are usually interest-free, but may incur other costs).
Which broker is best for MT4?
IC Markets is our top pick for the best MT4 broker in 2023. IC Markets offers the full MetaTrader suite and executes a higher monthly trading volume than any other MetaTrader broker. Considering its small effective spreads and low commissions, IC Markets is one of the most affordable options for traders looking to use MT4. It also supports a notable range of third-party tools, plugins, and social trading services like Myfxbook and Zulutrade.
What to look for in an MT4 broker
You’ll be using the same MT4 platform no matter which MT4 broker you choose. So how do you decide which broker to use?
To eliminate the guesswork, we decided to break down the five biggest questions facing traders who are trying to pick an MT4 broker. We’ll answer those questions one by one, chipping away at them in order of importance.
1. Can I trust this broker?
In our view, the most important factor to consider when choosing a broker is trust. Is the broker well-regulated? Is it obliged to keep my money safe? It’s crucial to get answers to these questions before committing to a broker. At BrokerNotes, we only ever recommend brokers that are regulated by a major financial regulator, such as the Financial Conduct Authority or CySEC. These regulators impose stringent measures on brokers to protect their clients.
2. What markets can I trade?
Each broker determines which assets are available to trade within the MT4 platform suite. Most brokers offer dozens of major and minor currency pairs, but some brokers offer a wider variety of asset classes, such as exotic pairs, indices, metals, commodities, stocks, and cryptocurrencies.
3. How much is it going to cost?
Using MT4 may be free, but each and every broker has a different set of spreads, commissions, swap rates, and fees, which together will determine how much it will cost you to trade with that broker when using MT4. It’s always worth doing the math to calculate how much you’ll pay per trade with each broker, by comparing any average spread data and per-trade commission to determine the effective spread.
4. How much can I trade?
Your broker will impose certain limits, such as minimum and maximum deposit amounts, maximum open trade amounts, and minimum trade sizes.
If you’re looking to trade with a particularly large (or small) amount of capital, it can be worthwhile to check what your broker allows. MT4 can display errors if you try to open trades or make deposits that are incompatible with the limits set by your brokerage.
5. How will my trades be executed?
There must always be both a buyer and a seller for any trade to take place. When you open a buy position in MT4, for example, your broker has to match you up with a seller of that same instrument in order to execute the trade.
That said, there are two types of execution methods: market maker and agency.
A “market maker” broker simply takes the opposite side of your trade, allowing you to execute your trades. So, in the above example, your market maker broker would become the seller of the instrument you wanted to buy.
An “agency” broker (often referred to as an ECN) matches you up with another party that will take the opposite side – usually with another market maker or a bank. Many brokers will offer both execution methods, depending on which MT4 account type you are using.
Agency (or, ECN) accounts often have high minimum deposits, and are better suited for high-volume professional traders or those with cost-sensitive strategies. Market makers tend to be better suited to traders who are trading in lower volumes.
BrokerNotes.co 2023 Overall Rankings
To recap, here are our top forex brokers for 2023, sorted by Overall ranking.
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